Manuel’s letter to Manyi leaves ANCYL fuming

National Planning Minister Trevor Manuel has sided with “right-wing political forces opposed to the ANC”, the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) said on Wednesday.

This was in reaction to the minister calling government spokesperson Jimmy Manyi a “worst-order racist”.

The ANCYL was “disturbed” by an open letter Manuel wrote to Manyi — which was published in the Star on Wednesday — said spokesperson Floyd Shivambu in a statement.

“In the letter, Trevor Manuel labels Jimmy Manyi a racist and likens him to the architect of apartheid, HF Verwoerd, because of an unfortunate observation Jimmy Manyi made, that coloured people are concentrated in the Western Cape,” said Shivambu.

“The youth league is disturbed, because as far as we are concerned Jimmy Manyi publicly apologised for those remarks and the ANC and most of society have accepted the apology.”

Shivambu said the tone of Manuel’s letter was “very sarcastic”.

“We now do not know who Trevor Manuel represents, because his remarks falls squarely into the political agenda of right-wing political forces opposed to the ANC,” said Shivambu.

He accused Manuel of working with and protecting the interests of “white monopoly capitalists”.

Anyone who had “subjective sentiments” on Manyi should, unlike Manuel, deal with the issue “internally”.

“Such conduct is totally out of order,” said Shivambu.

Call for an investigation
The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) on Wednesday called for an investigation into statements made by Manyi that there was an “over-supply” of coloured people in the Western Cape.

This was said in an interview conducted with Manyi on DStv channel KykNET last year.

The Western Cape branch of Cosatu wanted to know if Manyi was “instrumental” in drafting a controversial labour law, it said on Wednesday.

“We want to know what the intention is … was he [Manyi] involved in the drafting the law?” spokesperson Tony Ehrenreich asked in a telephonic interview.

“He was director general of the department of labour at the time. Was he instrumental in drafting the law as it came out, given his attitude?”

Solidarity trade union posted a clip of the interview on YouTube last week.

Manyi said in the controversial KykNET interview: “I think it’s very important for coloured people in this country to understand that South Africa belongs to them in totality, not just the Western Cape.

“So this over-concentration of coloureds in the Western Cape is not working for them.

“They should spread in the rest of the country … so they must stop this over-concentration situation because they are in over-supply where they are so you must look into the country and see where you can meet the supply.

In his open letter, Manuel said: “I want to draw your attention to the fact that your statements about ‘an over-concentration of coloureds’ are against the letter and spirit of the South African Constitution, as well as being against the values espoused by the Black Management Forum since its inception.”

“Mr Manyi, you may be black, or perhaps you aren’t, because you do not accept that label and would prefer to be ‘only a Xhosa’, whatever the label you choose, I want to put it to you that your behaviour is the worst-order racist”.

Manuel pointed out to Manyi that the “coloureds” were the sons and daughters of those who had fought anti-colonial battles and made huge sacrifices in the struggle against apartheid.

“By the way, what did you do in the war, Jimmy?” he asked.

Controversial amendments
Manyi’s comments came at a time when controversial amendments have been proposed to labour laws, which according to Solidarity could cause one million coloureds to lose their jobs in the Western Cape.

This has been denied by the labour department.

The ANCYL said it would not support any Bill that excluded “certain people”.

“For the record, the ANC Youth League will never agree with any piece of legislation that excludes or discriminates against the historically disadvantaged individuals, and this includes coloureds, Indians and Africans.

“The ANC and its allies has in more than one occasion reaffirmed that the Bill that somewhat suggests exclusion of certain people will not be adopted as an Act of Parliament, so those who are raising false alarms should in all honesty, relax,” said Shivambu. — Sapa

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Fienie Grobler
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